Prescott denies claims from Yarnell Hill Fire - New York News

Prescott denies claims from Yarnell Hill Fire

Posted: Updated:
  • Wildfire SeasonMore>>

  • 2 Arizona firefighters injured at Washington wildfire

    2 Arizona firefighters injured at Wash. wildfire

    A spokeswoman for a wildfire burning in central Washington says two firefighters from the Arizona-based Navajo Hotshots crew were injured when a large log rolled down a steep slope and hit them.
    A spokeswoman for a wildfire burning in central Washington says two firefighters from the Arizona-based Navajo Hotshots crew were injured when a large log rolled down a steep slope and hit them.
  • Valley Red Cross volunteers help with Washington wildfire relief

    Valley Red Cross volunteers help with Washington wildfire relief

    As several wildfires continue to burn across Washington and the state is calling in reinforcements.
    As several wildfires continue to burn across Washington and the state is calling in reinforcements.
  • Peoria firefighters head to California

    Peoria firefighters head to California

    More manpower was needed to fight the fast-growing Sand Fire in northern California and re-reinforcements from neighboring states were called in.So, firefighters in Peoria loaded up and headed to California on July 27
    More manpower was needed to fight the fast-growing Sand Fire in northern California and re-reinforcements from neighboring states were called in.So, firefighters in Peoria loaded up and headed to California on July 27

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- The city of Prescott on Tuesday denied more than 100 damage claims seeking a total of $662 million for property owners and relatives of firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona.

Ninety-one property owners filed claims and 17 others were filed by relatives of Granite Mountain Hotshots who died June 30.

Nineteen members of the elite crew died when winds shifted during the Yarnell Hill Fire and trapped the men in a brush-choked bowl after they left an area already burned.

More than 100 homes were destroyed in Yarnell, northwest of Phoenix.

A Phoenix law firm that represents Prescott sent letters to attorneys representing the property owners and firefighters' relatives, stating that all the claims were without merit and the city "is not liable to claimants because it didn't act intentionally, recklessly or negligently."

The claims are precursors to possible lawsuits. Filing the claims preserves a person's right to sue.

"We look forward to an open, fair trial," said Craig Knapp, a Scottsdale attorney for the 91 homeowners. "We look forward to helping the people of Yarnell find justice.

"Because city personnel played key roles in managing the fight against the Yarnell Hill Fire, their direct employer - the city of Prescott - is liable for their negligence in failing to protect Yarnell from destruction," Knapp added. "The city of Prescott knows that but is still denying responsibility."

Lawyers for the firefighters' families and relatives didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

Tom Kelly, a Prescott attorney for 12 of the families of the firefighters, previously said the deaths were preventable.

Those 12 claims seek more than $220 million plus changes in fire suppression techniques to ensure safety, standards and equipment; a program that would use the deaths as a learning tool for other wildland firefighters; and the funding of annual scholarships for people training to become wildland firefighters.

The claims were filed against various entities, including the state, Yavapai County, Prescott, the Central Yavapai and Yarnell fire districts and the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.

The claims allege that firefighting efforts were negligent and reckless, and refer frequently to a workplace safety report that resulted in citations against the State Forestry Division. The report commissioned by the division found communications lapses but did not assign blame.

A subsequent report by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health found that the Forestry Division knowingly put protection of property ahead of safety and should have pulled crews out earlier. The state's Industrial Commission levied a nearly $560,000 fine against the Forestry Division, which it is contesting.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Newark school enrollment problems

    Newark school enrollment problems

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:17 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:17:11 GMT
    The school year in Newark is getting off to a rocky start. Classes start in less than two weeks and parents are still waiting in line for hours to find out where their kids are enrolled. The problem is being blamed on a glitch in the school's new online open enrollment system. To say mother of three Jennifer Caraballo is frustrated may be an understatement. She is one of hundreds of Newark parents desperately now trying to find a new school for her children.
    The school year in Newark is getting off to a rocky start. Classes start in less than two weeks and parents are still waiting in line for hours to find out where their kids are enrolled. The problem is being blamed on a glitch in the school's new online open enrollment system. To say mother of three Jennifer Caraballo is frustrated may be an understatement. She is one of hundreds of Newark parents desperately now trying to find a new school for her children.
  • U.S. Open preview

    U.S. Open preview

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:52:40 GMT
    Heading into the U.S. Open, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have won 36 of the past 38 Grand Slam titles, a stretch dating to the 2005 French Open. Nowadays, there seems to be a growing sense — or hope, maybe — among the best of the rest on the men's tennis tour that the quartet might be more vulnerable than ever.
    Heading into the U.S. Open, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have won 36 of the past 38 Grand Slam titles, a stretch dating to the 2005 French Open. Nowadays, there seems to be a growing sense — or hope, maybe — among the best of the rest on the men's tennis tour that the quartet might be more vulnerable than ever.
  • Mark David Chapman

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:10:09 GMT
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices